Jags Open Second Week Of Practice
The Jaguar football hit the practice field to begin their second week of practice with a two-and-a-half session on a hot and muggy afternoon.
They worked on individual position skills before changing it up to work on kickoff returns prior to coming together for group work. The defense worked on tackling while the offense worked on inside run plays and skeleton passing drills.
Both sides of the ball came together for a team period that lasted around 25 minutes.
First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer is pleased with the progress made as they begin their second week of practice. “The guys have responded really well. There is a lot of retention from the spring from the older guys. The younger guys are obviously a little behind, but they have caught on really quick as we have thrown a lot at them. But I have seen a lot of guys step up. They are starting to understand the way we want them to practice, the tempo that we want them to practice at. But it is really encouraging to see them start to mold and actually know what is going on now whereas in the spring they were trying to learn everything.”
Second year offensive coordinator Robert Matthews is also pleased with the progress made by his squad as well as position battles. “I see guys battling for positions and that’s good. We stress competition at all positions, and that is going on. This was our eighth practice and we obviously have to sort some things out on the depth chart, but it has been a good process so far.”
One of the most anticipated and most watched position battles is the one for the starting quarterback position. Returning starter Ross Metheny and transfer Brandon Bridge are battling it out. Additionally, there are several new running backs looking to get playing time while the offensive line has places to shore up over the next couple of weeks.
Coach Matthews welcomes the competition. “Anytime you have more players to choose from it’s better because you want to make competition. Anytime you have more guys pushing each other, that’s what needs to happen.”
Coach Sherrer mentioned the defensive front and the secondary as locations where newcomers could make a presence. “We’ve got a couple of guys who are junior college transfers who have a chance to play a lot and we’ve got a high school defensive lineman to come in and do well. In the secondary Steffon and Steven Fuller have done a really, really good job. Montel Garner was here in the spring but he was injured and he’s out there, and Anthony Harris also. We’ve got a lot of new faces out there and we look a lot different.”
The Jags will practice on Friday before holding their first scrimmage on Saturday.
Sherrer is looking forward to seeing the players fight through because they are going to get tired and winded, but how they respond to those factors is what he wants to see. How will the respond if the offense gets a big play. Will they be able to come back and continue to execute their assignments?
Offensively, Matthews has one word as to what he wants to see in Saturday’s scrimmage: Execution. He wants to see the offense line up and play fast. He wants to see the execution and see that they players know what to do and make things happen. Speed was an issue last year as the players were continuing to learn the system and they could not go at the speed that the coaching staff wanted.
Two running backs suffered injuries recently, both true freshmen. Xavier Johnson hit his head on the artificial surface and was transported to a local hospital after practice for further examination. The training staff was concerned about possible head or neck injuries and wanted to be cautious.
Kaleb Blanchard had a laceration to his right leg recently and will be held out of practice until it heals.